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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Finding god in the dark – taking the spiritual excercises of st ignatius to the movies 

Finding god in the dark – taking the spiritual excercises of st ignatious to the movies

Grace: To ask for a sense of bow I, and all humanity, am implicated in a disorder larger than ourselves and bow I, consciously, or unconsciously, participate in and contribute to that disorder

Koyaanisqatsi – disorder of our life

Consolation and desolation pp17

Our fives are shaped by our past. Often we carry that past around with us, as if we were houses haunted by ghosts that refuse to leave. These are the traumatic moments that have stunted our healthy growth and made us cautious, closed off, insecure, pained and wounded. Unless those moments are brought to light and transformed by love, they fester and pervert us. They can even kill us spiritually. They are the sorts of things that make us think we must look after ourselves. No one else will. Pp49

Destruction pp54

You are not doing this to save yourself, which you cannot do, or to save anyone else. What you can do is have a firm purpose of amendment. That purpose resolves itself in a hatred for what you have done; a desire to find out why you have done it so as not to do it again; and a resolution not to do it again. Even if we have been sinned against, we seek not to continue that cycle of sin and destruction but rather to ask God's grace to break that cycle, to hold it up to be redeemed, and to try to transform what is destructive into life. We also need to find out the nature of the world that drives us to such a condition and how it makes us complicit in its activities. These are the graces we pray for as we consider at a deeper level not our sinfulness in itself, but how we can cooperate with that merciful love of God in re-creating the world and the relationships we have damaged. What we are doing here is the first step in responding lovingly to the love that we have found so far in our lives. 70

'Right view" reminds us that we are rooted in God's love, that we are all lovable and capable of loving, no matter what situation we find ourselves in. St. Paul puts it this way: "Nothing, neither death, nor - life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom 8:38-9).

"Right thinking'' refers to the process of reflection that grounds the experience of God's love for us, rather than those negative tapes that debilitate us and alienate others. Right thinking does not ignore the real presence of evil but knows - as Julian of Norwich knows - that "all shall be well and all manners of things shall be well." It knows that good overcomes evil and transforms evil. It knows that basically we are aligned to good.

"Right mindfulness" is being attentive to what is and so being able to discern truth from illusion. It seeks God in all situations and in living in the love the Christ has for the Father. It is to have that same focus and desire as the Christ and to live fully in the gift of the present.

"Right speech'' s peaks the truth lovingly. Truth without love is a lie; and love without truth is sentimentality.

Right action" manifests itself in a reverence for life through generosity, responsible gestures - a gesture is an act of homage to God performed in this world - and the way we place our body as incarnate spirit.

"Right effort" examines how we spend the energy we have: "To do the right deed for the wrong reason...the greatest treason (TS. Eliot). Why do we do what we do? Evil encloses us ever more tightly in the webs of narcissism; right effort struggles against those ego-limitations to ever more comprehensive relationships within the realities in which we find ourselves.

"Rigbt concentration" is a spiritual calm that acknowledges both the transitory and the Absolute at the same time.

"Rigbt livelibood" is having an occupation that fosters our vocation to be a witness to love. 77

Cost of discipleship 168

Chrsit walks on water 174

Jesus in the temple 179

Joy is often equated with loud celebrations. True joy is not like that. Joy is the felt sense of being rooted in Gods love. It is calm and focused and deep. The enemy of our human nature does not want us to be joyful, and so lures us away from it. Unless we counteract that temptation, we start moving from being joyful to being happy, from being happy to being excited, and from being excited to being in a state of pleasure. From there it is easy to slip into giddiness and then to desolation. Pleasure is a delight in the things that stimulate the senses. 1 can have pleasure in a good meal or in an ice-cream cone on a hot day. Excitement is an intensification of that pleasure, to the extent that it blocks out a sense of calm and of control. Happiness is when my desires coincide with the energies around me and 1 am affirmed in myself. Joy is acknowledging in a self-conscious manner my rootedness in a love and a life that is larger than me and that 1 know cares for me. In joy 1 can appropriate my self -transcendence; in pleasure 1 experience my selfhood solely in a physical way. Joy lies at one end of the continuum of delight; pleasure lies at the other end.


The resurrected Christ does not abandon them in their fear but enters their little world and wishes them peace. Inasmuch as we become manifestations of the resurrected Christ we, too, are asked to enter the worlds of fear and selfenclosure and bring a peace that comes from rootedness in the Father's love. That relationship casts out fear. Interestingly, when we do this, we are tested as Christ was tested. We need to show signs that we live out of our relationship with the Father before others will believe us. The most effective sign of that is if, in our suffering, we remain faithful and loving.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 307

About Schmidt

The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

AT: Artifical Intelligence

Almost Famous

American Beauty

Bend it Like Beckharn

Big Fish

Billy Elliot

Bowling for Columbine

The Butcher Boy


Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Dancer in the Dark

The End of the Affair

Far from Heaven

The Full Monty

Gossip -

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Hearts in Atlantis

The Hours

lgby Goes Down

The Insider


Iron Giant

A Knight's Tale


L.A. Confidential

Life as a House

The Lord of the Rings

Lost in Translation


Matchstick Men

The Matrix

The Mission

Monsoon Wedding

Moulin Rouge

Mystic River

0 Brother, Where Art Thou?


Punch-Drunk Love

The Quiet American

Requiem for a Dream

The Royal Tenenbaums

Romeo + Juliet


Stand by Me

The Sweet Hereafter

The Thin Red Line

Three Kings

The Truman Show

2001: A Space Odyssey

White Oleander


Thursday, January 04, 2007

Sansom,C. J.(2006)Winter in Madrid 


Boa, K(2001)Conformed to His Image 

In the last few years, I have adapted and used this prayer by St. Richard of

Chichester (1197-1253) in my own quiet times before the Lord: 'Thanks be to thee, 0

Lord Jesus Christ, for all the benefits which thou hast given us; for all the pains and

insults which thou hast borne for us. 0 most merciful Redeemer, Friend, and Brother,

may we know thee more clearly, love thee more dearly, and follow thee more nearly;

for thine own sake."

Loving God completely involves our whole personality-our intellect, emotion, and will. "And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength" (Mark 12:30). The better we come to know God ("may we know thee more clearly"), the more we will love him ("love thee more dearly"). And the more we love him, the greater our willingness to trust and obey him in the things he calls us to do ("follow thee more nearly").


The great prayers in Ephesians 1 and 3, Philippians 1, and Colossians 1 reveal that Paul's deepest desire for his readers was that they grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. The knowledge the apostle had in mind was not merely propositional but personal. He prayed that the Lord would give them a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, that the eyes of their hearts would be enlightened, and that they would know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge (Ephesians 1: 17-18; 3:19). 31

What does it take to know God more clearly? The two essential ingredients are time and obedience. It takes time to cultivate a relationship, and unless we get aside consistent time for disciplines such as solitude, silence, prayer, and the reading of Scripture, we will never become intimate with our Lord. Obedience is the proper response to this communication, since it is our personal expression of trust in the promises of the Person we are coming to know. The more we are impressed by him, the less we will be impressed by people, power, and things.


But the Scriptures exhort us to look to Christ, not to self, for the solutions we so greatly need. I have come to define the biblical view of self-love in this way: loving ourselves correctly means seeing ourselves as God sees us. This will never happen automatically, because the scriptural vision of human depravity and dignity is countercultural. To genuinely believe and embrace the reality of who we have become as a result of our faith in Christ requires consistent discipline and exposure to the Word of God. It also requires a context of fellowship and encouragement in a community of like-minded believers. Without these, the visible will overcome the invisible, and our understanding of this truth will gradually slip through our fingers.



The following biblical affirmations about our identity in Jesus Christ are derived from a few selected passages in the New Testament. These passages teach a portion of the many truths about who we have become through faith in God's Son.

• I am a child of God.

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.

John 1:12

• I am a branch of the true vine, and a conduit of Christ's life.

I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser... I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and 1 in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing."

John 15:1 5

• I am a friend of Jesus.

'No longer do 1 call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you."

John 15:15

• I have been justified and redeemed.

Being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.

Rornans 3:24

My old self was crucified with Christ, and I am no longer a slave to sin.

Knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin.

Romans 6:6

I will not be condemned by God.

Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:1

• I have been set free from the law of sin and death.

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.

Romans 8:2

• As a child of God, I am a fellow heir with Christ.

And if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.

Romans 8:17

• I have been accepted by Christ.

Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.

Romans 15:7

• 1 have been called to be a saint.

To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours.

1 Corinthians 1:2; Ephesians 1:1; Philippians 1:1; Colossians 1:2

• In Christ Jesus, I have wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.

But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption.

1 Corinthians 1:30

My body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who dwells in me.

Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?

1 Corinthians 3:16

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?

1 Corinthians 6:19

• I am joined to the Lord and am one spirit with him. But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him.

1 Corinthians 6:17

• God leads me in the triumph and knowledge of Christ.

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.

2 Corinthians 2:14

• The hardening of my mind has been removed in Christ.

But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ.

2 Corinthians 3:14

am a new creature in Christ.

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

2 Corinthians 5:17

I have become the righteousness of God in Christ.

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

2 Corinthians 5:21

1 have been made one with all who are in Christ Jesus.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave -nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3:28

I am no Ion er a slave but a child and an heir. 9

Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son., and if a son, then an heir through God.

Galatians 4:7

1 have been set free in Christ.

It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standin g firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.

Galatians 5:1

I have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.

Ephesians 1:3

I am chosen, holy, and blameless before God. just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him.

Ephesians 1:4

I am redeemed and forgiven by the grace of Christ. .1 11 1 1

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our fres-

passes, according to the riches of His grace.

Ephesians 1:7

I have been predestined by God to obtain an inheritance.

In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will. Ephesians 1: 10- 11

1 have been sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.

In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation -having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise.

Ephesians 1:13

Because of God's mercy and love, I have been made alive with Christ.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved).

Ephesians 2:4-5

* 1 am seated in the heavenly places with Christ.

And raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 2:6

* I am God's workmanship created to produce good works.

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

Ephesians 2:10

* I have been brought near to God by the blood of Christ'

But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

Ephesians 2:13

I am chosen, holy, and blameless before God. just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him.

Ephesians 1:4

I am redeemed and forgiven by the grace of Christ. .1 11 1 1

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our fres-

passes, according to the riches of His grace.

Ephesians 1:7

I have been predestined by God to obtain an inheritance.

In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will. Ephesians 1: 10- 11

1 have been sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.

In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation -having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise.

Ephesians 1:13

Because of God's mercy and love, I have been made alive with Christ.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved).

Ephesians 2:4-5

* 1 am seated in the heavenly places with Christ.

And raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 2:6

* I am God's workmanship created to produce good works.

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

Ephesians 2:10

* I have been brought near to God by the blood of Christ'

But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

Ephesians 2:13

• My life is hidden with Christ in God.

For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

Colossians 3:3

• Christ is my life, and I will be revealed with him in glory.

When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with

Him in glory.

Colossians 3:4

• I have been chosen of God, and I am holy and beloved.

So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a

heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

Colossians 3:12

• God loves me and has chosen me.

Knowing, brethren beloved by God, His choice of you.

1 Thessalonians 1:4

I recommend reviewing frequently this powerful inventory, since it reminds us of truths we quickly forget amid the worries and cares of this world. The more we embrace these affirmations from Scripture, the more stable, grateful, and fully assured we will be in the course of our lives.

Pp36 – 41

Jesus derived his identity from his relationship with his Father and not from the opinions of his family and peers. Consider these passages:


Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?" (John 1:46).

'Why is He eating and drinking with tax collectors and sinners'?" (Mark 2:16). Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? Are not His sisters here with us?" And they took offense at Him (Mark 6:3).

'The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Behold, a glut-' tonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!"' (Matthew 11: 19).

If You do these things, show Yourself to the world." For not even His brothers were believing in Him (John 7:4-5).

They said to Him, 'We were not born of fornication" (John 8:4 1).

The Jews answered and said to Him, "Do we not say rightly that You are a Samaritan and have a demon?" (John 8:48).

When He left there, the scribes and the Pharisees began to be very hostile and to question Him closely on many subjects, plotting against Him to catch Him in something He might say (Luke 11:53-54).


Let me offer two questions that can help you assess where you are in this spiritual

journey. Do you love God more for himself than for his gifts and benefits? Are you more

motivated to seek his glory and honor than you are to seek your own? These questions

are pivotal, not trivial, and 1 encourage you to make them a matter of prayerful reflec-

tion rather than casual notice. If you cannot honestly answer yes to either of them, do

not be disheartened, but ask yourself a third question: Do you want your answer to be

yes? If so, offer this intention to the Lord as the desire of your heart, for with such offer-

ings he is pleased. But a fourth question follows hard on the heels of the third: Since

this level of commitment always costs, are you willing to pay the price? 136

As A. W Tozer put it, "Every Christian will become at last what his desires have made him. We are the sum total of our hungers. The g-reat saints have all had thirsting hearts. Their cry has been, 'My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall 1 come and appear before God?' Their longing after God all but consumed them; it propelled them onward and upward to heights toward which less ardent Christians look with languid eye and entertain no hope of reaching." 140

C. S. Lewis argued in The Weight of Glory that our problem is not that our desires are too strong but that they are too weak. 'We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased." 141

In The Love of God, Bernard of Clairvaux distinguishes four degrees of love. In the first, we love ourselves for our own sake, and in the second, we love God for our own blessing. In the third degree of love, we love God for God's own sake. Few sustain this blessed degree of love that is unsullied by self-interest in which we love those things that belong to Jesus Christ "even as Christ sought our interests, or rather sought us, and never looked after His own." But Bernard goes on to say, 'Slessed is the man who can attain the fourth degree of love. Then he will love himself only in God!" To be possessed by this degree of divine love can only be a gift that is marked by the fragrance of heaven, not of earth.


The pursuit of God (quaerere Deum) heightens our awareness of being exiles, pilgrims, and sojourners who increasingly long to be "at home" with him (2 Corinthians 5:2-9; Philippians 1:23; 3:20). Because we are gradually conformed to what we desire, we should pray for the grace of holy desire.

Soren Kierkegaard put it, purity of heart is to will one thing; an undivided heart is integrated, harmonized, and simplified. Simplicity in this sense is the opposite of the duplicity that is caused by a heart that is sundered by inordinate attachment to a multiplicity of finite things. A life lived in accordance with the gospel becomes more centered on the one thing necessary, the good part that will not be taken away (Luke 10:42). The undivided heart loves in all things God's will rather than the things themselves. This purity of communion with God is never attained quickly or fully; it is the fruit of the grace of God and decades of stumbling pursuit. In the mystery of divine love, the more we find God, the harder we pursue him. Pp170

We must stop measuring the quality of our times of prayer and meditation by how well we feel during them, since difficult and apparently fruitless times of prayer may contribute more to our development than times of consolation and enthusiasm.

Enemies of Spiritual Passion

Unresolved areas of disobedience. Resisting the prodding of God in an area of your life may seem subtle, but it can be a more serious grievance to the heart of God than we suppose. It is good to invite the Holy Spirit to reveal any barriers in our relationship with God or people that have been erected by sinful attitudes and actions. When these become evident, deal with them quickly and trust in the power of God's forgiveness through the blood of Christ.

Complacency. Without holy desire we will succumb to the sin of spiritual acedia,' or indifference, apathy, and boredom. People who lose the sharp edge of intention and calling can slip into a morass of listlessness and feelings of failure. We must often ask God for the grace of acute desire so that we will hunger and thirst for him.

Erosion in spiritual disciplines. Complacency can cause or be caused by a failure to train and remain disciplined in the spiritual life. Several biblical figures, including King Asa (2 Chronicles 14-16), illustrate the problem of starting well in the first half of life and finishing poorly in the last half. When spiritual disciplines begin to erode, spiritual passion declines as well.

External obedience. Many people are more concerned about conformity to rules, moral behavior, and duty than they are about loving Jesus. External obedience without inward affection falls short of the biblical vision of obeying God from the heart (Jeremiah 31:33; Romans 6:17; Ephesians 6:6).

Loving truth more than Christ. Some students of the Word have come to love the content of truth in the Bible more than the Source of that truth. Biblical theology and systematic theology are worthy pursuits, but not when they become substitutes for the pursuit of knowing and becoming like Jesus.

Elevating service and ministry above Christ. It is easier to define ourselves by what we accomplish than by our new identity in Christ. For some people, the Christian life consists more of fellowship, service to those in need, witnessing, and worship than of becoming intimate with Jesus. This leads to the problem of ministry without the manifest presence of God.

Greater commitment to institutions than to Christ. It is easy for churches, denominations, or other organizations to occupy more of our time and attention than does devotion to Jesus. There is a constant danger of getting more passionate about causes than about Christ.

A merely functional relationship. Many people are more interested in what Jesus can do for them than in who he is. We may initially come to him hoping that he will help us with our career, marriage, children, or health, but if we do not grow beyond this gifts-above-the-Giver mentality, we will never develop spiritual passion.

Our love for God can be threatened by these enemies, but other attitudes and actions can stimulate or renew a sense of devotion and intimacy.

Sources of Spiritual Passion

Growing awareness of God as a person. God is an intensely Personal and relational Being, and it is an insult for us to treat him as though he were a power or a principle. Some of us find it easier to be comfortable with abstract principles and ideas than with people and intimacy. As we have seen, good things like the Bible, theology, ministry, and church can become substitutes for loving him. As a countermeasure, it is good to

ask God for the grace of increased passion for his Son so that, by the power of the Spirit, we will come to love him as the Father loves him.

Sitting at Jesus'feet. When we make consistent time for reading, meditation, prayer, and contemplation, we place ourselves at the feet of Jesus and enjoy his presence. By making ourselves available and receptive to him, we learn the wisdom of spending more time being a friend of Jesus than a friend of others.

1 1 Imitating the Master Our identification with Jesus in his death, burial, resurrection, and ascension has made us new creatures before God (2 Corinthians 5:17). This divinely wrought identification makes it possible for us to imitate Jesus and "follow in His steps" (1 Peter 2:2 1). If we love the Master, we will want to be like him in his character, humility, compassion, love, joy, peace, and dependence on the Father's will.

Cultivating spiritual affections. Regardless of our natural temperaments, it is important for us to develop true affections (desire, longing, zeal, craving, hunger) for God. The rich emotional life of the psalmists (see Psalm 27:4; 42:1-3; 63:1-8; 145:1-21) reveals a desire for God above all else and a willingness to cling to him during times of aridity. Like them, we must aspire to a love that is beyond'us (Ephesians 3:17-19).

Increasing appreciation for the goodness of God. The distractions of the world make it difficult for us to develop a growing appreciation for our relationship with God. We forget that we can enjoy communion with Someone who is infinitely better than the objects of our most powerful natural desires. We must pray for the grace of gratitude and amazement at the unqualified goodness of God's "kindness toward us in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:7).

Focused intention. What do you want (or want to want) more than anything else? God is pleased when we pursue him with a heart that is intent on knowing and loving him. He "begins His influence by working in us that we may have the will, and He completes it by working with us when we have the will," wrote Augustine in On Grace and Free Will. As our wills become more simplified and centered on becoming like Jesus, our love for him will grow.

Willingness to let God break our outward self "Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal" (John 12:2425). The alabaster vial of the self-life must be broken (Mark 14:3) to release the perfume of the new self in Christ. If we wish to manifest the fragrance of Christ, we must allow God to bring us, in his time and way, to the painful place of brokenness on the cross of self-abandonment to him. This theme resonates in spiritual literature, and one of the clearest expressions is in Watchman Nee's The Release of the Spirit.

Desiring to please God more than impress people. If we want to be like Christ, we must embrace his governing goal to be pleasing to the Father (John 8:29; Hebrews 10:7). The enemy of this glorious goal is the competing quest for human approval (John 5:41, 44; 12:43; Galatians 1: 10). We cannot have it both ways; we will either play to an Audience of one or to an audience of many. But in the end, only God's opinion will matter.

Treasuring God. Dallas Willard observes in The Divine Conspiracy that God "treasures those whom he has created, planned for, longed for, sorrowed over, redeemed, and befriended." just as God has treasured us, so he wants us to respond by treasuring him above all else. 'We love, because He first loved us" (1 John 4:19). The more we realize how God loved and valued us, the greater our capacity to love and value him. In Beginning to Pray, Anthony Bloom suggests that one way to treasure God is to find a personal name or expression for God that flows out of our relationship with him, like David's "You, my Joy!"

Maturing in trust. As believers, we trust Christ for our eternal destiny, but most of us find it difficult to trust him in our daily practice. As long as we pursue sinful strategies of seeking satisfaction on our own terms, our confidence will be misplaced. We must learn to trust Jesus enough to place our confidence in his power, not our performance.


The way of discipleship and sanctification is not based upon a list of things we don't do. That is the way of control, measurement, comparison, criticism, and arrogance. Instead, the way of discipleship is a single-minded pursuit of the Holy One so that we are set apart for his service and surrendered to his purposes in every facet of life. it is allowing ourselves to be possessed by God in such a way that his indwelling Holy Spirit is free to reorient our hearts, values, and behaviors in each sphere of engagement. Having entered into a relationship with the personal Creator of the universe, our highest calling is to know him in a deeper and richer way. This was the apostle Paul's ambition: "that 1 may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings... phil 3:10


Sanctification is both an event (we were sanctified when we gave ourselves to Christ [ 1 Corinthians 6:111) and a process (we are being sanctified [Romans 12:2; Philippians 2-3; 1 John 2:281). Spiritual formation is the lifelong process of becoming in our character and actions the new creations we already are in Christ (2 Corinthians 5: 17); it is the working out of what God has already worked in us (Philippians 2:12-13). 257

Note the process imagery in Scripture that stresses an ongoing awareness of the presence of Christ: abide in Jesus and let his words abide in you (John 15:4-7); set your mind on the things of the Spirit (Romans 8:5-6); walk by the Spirit (Galatians 5:16, 25); keep seeking the things above where Christ is (Colossians 3:1--2); rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks (1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18); run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-2). The spiritual life is not a measurable product but a dynamic process.


Holiness is never achieved by acting ourselves into a new way of being. Instead, it is a gift that God graciously implants within the core of those who have trusted in Christ. All holiness is the holiness of God within us-the indwelling life of Christ. Thus the process of sanctification is the gradual diffusion of this life from the inside (being) to the outside (doing), so that we become in action what we are in essence. 277

Words and works col 4:5-6 (evangelism)

The Christian life is the life of Christ in us; without a moment-by-moment reliance on the Holy Spirit, this level of living is impossible. Sanctification is both a state and a process; when we come to Jesus, we are set apart to God by the Spirit's application of the work of Christ in our lives. We are called to realize this state of sanctification (God's inworking [Philipplans 2:131) in a progressive way by obedient conformity to the character of the indwelling Christ (our outworking [Philippians 2:121). This is accomplished as we keep in step with the Spirit; If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit" (Galatians 5:25). To be sanctified is to be possessed by God's Spirit. to respond to his transforming purposes in obedient faith, to bear the fruit of the Spirit by abiding in Christ (Galatians 5:22-23), and to pursue the process of maturation in holiness in our relationships with God, his people, and the people of the world.



Rice, A(2006)Christ the Lord: Out of Eygpt 

Really interesting take on the hidden years of Jesus.

How he developed and what affected him and his development.


Holland, D(2003)The Ripple Effect 

Excellent appealing novel particularly if you like football


Hughes, G(2004)God in all Things 

From this it follows that an element of agnosticism or acknowledgment that the nature of God cannot be comprehended is in fact a mark of holiness. Complete religious certainty about God without any* shadow of doubt is a sign of atheism. The God we think we know all about cannot be the true God, because God is always greater than our powers of comprehension. 22

If the Church is to be faithful to the transcendent God, it must never be rigidly dogmatic, resting in its own certainties and abandoning the search for truth. Openness to truth, suppleness of mind, love of learning and the confidence to question are among the marks of holiness in the Church and in its individual members. 23

Isa 58:5-7 pp

1 he greatest danger to ing the human race is the world-view that sees human life in terms of a power struggle. We are convinced that in order to survive we must compete rather than co-operate. This is like a lethal virus infecting the human race. When the Church forgets the real meaning of holiness, that virus is just as likely to flourish within the Church as outside of it. 38

The teaching is unmistakably clear. Our relationship to God is manifested primarily in the way we relate to other human beings and their needs rather than in the frequency, fidelity or fervour with which we perform our formal' religious duties. But in the lives of so many clergy their primary concern is with the upkeep and development of church plant and real estate; with points of doctrine and church order; with the form of religious worship. Clergy who preach sermons expressing concern about the social/ political structures that cause hunger, homelessness and poverty are frequently denounced by those in public office for contaminating true spirituality with humanist ideas. 40

This question - 'for whose kingdom?' can be devastating in revealing to us our own narrowness and meanness, our own conceit and vanity, and our childish selfcentredness.


feelings 84

sheep dog 93

Returning to the shepherd and sheepdog diagram on page 93, the sheepdog must fix its attention on the shepherd and act on the commands of the shepherd. If the dog allows its concentration to move away from the shepherd, it may start pursuing individual sheep and forget the rest of the flock. As Christians, we can become so preoccupied with the 'sheep', in the form of our own particular defects, that we turn our attention away from the love and goodness of God, the 'shepherd', and become totally absorbed in ourselves. If we do this we may end up plunged into the depths of despair at our lamentable failure to live up to our Christian ideals. We may alternatively find ourselves preoccupied with different 'sheep' in the form of our own good qualities - in which case we may find ourselves glowing with our own selfrighteousness, like the Pharisee. 99

The obituary exercise in Chapter 5 can be helpful here. We looked at the qualities for which we would like to be remembered: compassion, honesty, justice, etc. In the depths of my being, would 1 like to live without love, without compassion, truth, justice, etc? If the answer is 'No', then the core of my being cannot be turned away from God. 106

Destructive thoughts = refusal to forgive and lingering guilt. 109

Karl Rahner

Any spirituality that fails to develop an appreciation of the unity of all things and of all peoples, and that leaves us without any hunger or thirst for social justice, must inevitably prove to be a false spirituality. It will not be drawing us closer to the living God who hungers and thirsts after justice, as we read in the Hebrew prophets. It is a sign of the split in our spirituality that in too many churches, people who are active in justice/peace issues feel themselves to be on the margins.


If 1 am finding it impossible to forgive, then 1 need to become still, and in the stillness to ask myself. 'In the depth of my heart, do 1 really want to do permanent harm to this person? Is that how I would like to be remembered - as a person who never forgave an injury? In spite of the anger I feel, can 1 find a depth in my heart at which I do not want ultimate harm to be done to this person?

Can 1 even pray for their ultimate good? Pp209

The Paralysing Power of Fear

Our fears, if not confronted, sap our emotional as well as our physical energy, imprisoning us within the narrow confines of our own concerns, diminishing us and those around us.

Fear can contribute to our divided state as Christians, for we can come to consider people of other Christian denominations, or of other faiths, to be threats to our own security in the faith we hold. Such security cannot be of God, because the security of God would make us want to break down the walls that divide us and lead us to rejoice in our differences. Fear of insecurity can blind us to the prison we build for ourselves. Dorothy Rowe, a psychologist, in her book Depression, claims that at the root of depression is an unwillingness of the victim to face some fear, of which we may not be conscious at first. On a national scale, lurking beneath our nuclear deterrence policy, is the fear of radical change in our lives. We are so enamoured of what we call our national security that for its sake we are willing to risk not only the lives of our enemies, the majority of whom will be innocent civilians, but our own lives too, and possibly all human life on the planet.

Fear of rejection… constant concern to please pp221



THESE ARE JUST A few passages to get you started. You can then find your own texts!)

On God's Love for Us

Psalms 8, 23, 91, 130, 136, 139, 145

Isaiah 43:1-7, 46:3-4, 49:14-16, 54:4-10, 55:1-11

Wisdom 11:21-12:2

Hosea 11: 1-9

Luke 1:46-55,67-79, 11:1-13, 12:22-32, 15:1-32

John 14:18-23, 15:1-15

Ephesians L3-14, 2:1-10, 3:14-21

Romans 5:1-11, 8:31-9

2 Corinthians 4:7-16, 5:16-21

On Desire

Psalms 27, 42, 43, 63

Romans 8:36-9

John 1:35-9

Mark 10:17-27

Gods Desire to Forgive US

Matthew 9:10-13 Luke 7:36-50, 15:11-32, 18:9-14, 19:1-10 John 8:1-11

On God's Healing

Mark 1:40-5, 5:1-20,25-34, 7:31-7, 10:46-52 Luke 5:12-16, 7:36-50

On Forgiving Others

Matthew 5:20-6, 5:43-8, 6:7-16, 7:1-5 Luke 6:20-45 1 Corinthians 13:4-13

On Trust

Matthew 6:24-34, 14:22-33 Mark 4:35-41 Luke 1:26-38, 12:22-32 Philippians 4:8-13 Romans 8:31-9

On Compassion

Luke 10:25-37, 15:11-24, 16:19-31 Luke 5:36-8, 23:33-43



Chalke , S. (2006) Intelligent Church. Zondervan 

As St John of the Cross said: 'Mission is putting love where love is not.

Often when Christians see figures of declining church atten1 dance, we have a tendency to panic and rush around trying to save church from extinction. The truth is that we have spent so much time worrying about how we will save our churches, networks and denominations (our beloved institutions) that we often lose sight of our true task-to serve and save the world.

It's ironic but true that in serving the world more fully, the church, in whatever form it takes, will be rendered immune from extinction. A saved world would certainly result in a saved church. The reverse is not necessarily t rue. If we huddle in our trenches (however well equipped they may be) making occasional forays farther afield to win converts in order to bolster our numbers, we are condemned to watch as the church, and the world along with it, perishes. Pp25

Jesus invites but never compels us to believe. As a result, we'd do well to avoid making snap judgements about whether someone is in or out of the Christian community based on his ability to sign up to this or that established statement of faith. Instead we should learn how to create the opportunities for the unchurched to gradually deepen their faith and relationship with God. Questioning and doubt do not put real faith in jeopardy. Faith isn't certainty It's a risky commitment to a glimpsed possibility in the face of reasonable human hesitation about whether it is really possible. Were so keen for things to be cut and dried, we often fail to see that faith and doubt aren't mutually exclusive. As the German-born theologian Paul Tillich wrote, 'Doubt isn't the opposite of faith. It is an element of faith. 'Where there's absolute certainty, there can be no room for faith. Pp70

Missiologist Lesshe Newbigin sald, 'We do not seek to impose our Christian beliefs upon others, but this is not because (as in the liberal view) we recognise that they may be right and we may be wrong. It is because the Christian faith itself, centred in the message of the incarnation, cross and resurrection, forbids the use of any kind of coercive pressure upon others to conform.' Pp75

The myth of leadership

Agostino d'Antonio, a sculptor of Florence, Italy, worked diligently but unsuccessfully on a large piece of marble for many months. Eventually he gave up; he simply could not do anything with the stone. Other sculptors worked with the piece of marble, but ultimately none could craft it into anything of beauty. The stone was discarded. It lay on' a rubbish heap for forty years. That seemingly worthless piece of rock was to become one of the world's most famous pieces of renaissance art-Michelangelo's wonderful statue David. After its completion Michelangelo was often told how beautiful his work was. His standard reply was both simple and humble. All he had done, he said, was to reveal the beauty that was already hidden deep inside the marble. That is the task of a generous church -revealing the beauty that is already present in the lives of everyone we meet.


mission after Christendom david smith

Throughout his life Jesus demonstrated God's extraordinary love but never cajoled or forced people into following him. He simply offered the simple but direct invitation to all whom he met- 'Follow me. 'The reason, of course, why Christ did not bully or push people into following him is simply this: God is love. Love woos; it does not rape. Love beckons; it does not intimidate. Love does not bully; it cannot bully.


1 realise now that when 1 first became a minister many years ago 1 had a fundamental misunderstanding of my role. I thought part of my job was to get people converted. 1 believed my job was to convince people that they were living empty, meaningless and sinful lives and to get them to pray'the prayer'. Though 1 tried to manoeuvre people into becoming Christians by convicting them of their sinning, the terrible frustration was that they didn't very often listen to me. And even when they did, all too often they didn't stay in the faith for very long. It was several years later that I realised the mistake 1 was making. 1 was trying to do the Holy Spirit's job, and at the same time neglecting my own. It is God who convicts people, not me. I'm not qualified. My job is simply to love God and love other people and through that commitment reflect his love to them. 166

Our goal is to meet others' needs, regardless of our own. Our evangelistic strategies will always be doomed if we appear to be nothing more than salespeople trying to drag others, kicking and screaming, into the church. Salespeople always have a tough time of it. Why? Because we believe that they will say anything to get our money.

The wonderfully liberating truth is that we don't need to sell God. Imposing Christian faith upon others does not work. It never did work. We don't need to' cajole people or try to persuade them that God is good. All we are called to do is demonstrate it. The command we were given is clear: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.... Love your neighbour as yourself' (Mark 12:30 - 3 1).

Confident faith, secure faith, is relaxed rather than pushy. It is unapologetically passionate about Jesus and his lordship but does not need to, or seek to, take every half opportunity to harangue others about him. Christ will be freely and naturally talked about and seen without having to manipulate or force the subject or the situation. A transforming church is a liberating church for all- Christian and non-Christian alike.



# McGrath, A. (1999) The Unknown God: Searching for Spiritual Fulfilment. Lion 

McGrath, A. (1999) The Unknown God: Searching for Spiritual Fulfilment. Lion

My light, you see my conscience, because, 'Lord, before you is all my desire', and if my soul wills any good, you gave it to me. Lord, if what you inspire is good, or rather because it is good, that 1 should want to love you, give me what you have made me want: grant that 1 may attain to love you as much as you command Perfect what you have begun, and grant me what you have made me long for, not according to my deserts but out of your kindness that came first to me.


1 do not try, Lord, to attain your lofty heights, because my understanding is in no way equal to it. But 1 do desire to understand your truth a little, that truth that my heart believes and loves. For 1 do not seek to understand so that 1 may believe; but 1 believe so that 1 may understand. For 1 believe this also, that 'unless 1 believe, 1 shall not understand'. ANSELM OF CANTERBURY

one of the greatest themes of the Christian gospel is that of eternal life. This is often misunderstood to mean something like 'an infinite extension of things'. The real meaning of the term, however, is much more profound. It means 'a new quality of life, which is begun now and will Iconsummated in the future, which nothing - not even death - can destroy'. 'Eternal life' is all about entering into a new quality of life here and now, in full assurance that this new life will develop and grow. it -, about relating to a wonderful, loving personal God - not a idea, but a person. God is



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